The New York Yankees once again find themselves facing a lot of questions as they head into the hot stove season. With one more year left on their self-imposed $189 million budget to avoid the luxury tax, the Bombers have many needs they need to address if they want to be competitive in 2014. Here are four things they need to accomplish this offseason:
1. Re-sign Robinson Cano. As their first order of business, the Yankees need to find a way to keep their homegrown All-Star second baseman. Robinson Cano is the cream of the free-agent crop and has the bat and the glove, not to mention the prestige the Yankees need to center the team around. The Yankees can show Robinson Cano the money as long as they don’t get locked into too many years — they shouldn’t go beyond seven — otherwise they will be going down the same black hole as they did with the Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira contracts.
2. Sign a legitimate catcher. I think I speak for all Yankees fans when I say Chris Stewart’s days as a starting catcher in the Bronx should be over. The Yankees need someone behind the plate who can offer some solid offense. Brian McCann is a great option and a lefty who will be able to take advantage of the short porch in right field. In the meantime, the Yankees can use one of their younger guys, whether it be Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine or J.R. Murphy, as a cheap backup option.
3. Sure up the rotation. Even though CC Sabathia had a rocky year, the Yankees rotation coupled with a very good bullpen kept them in the postseason hunt down to the wire. With Andy Pettitte’s retirement (this time it’s for real), Hiroki Kuroda’s return an unknown and Phil Hughes likely out the door via free agency, there are more than a few holes to fill behind the big man. The Yankees still have David Phelps, who will fit into Hughes’ slot nicely and perhaps we will finally get to see what Michael Pineda has to offer. All that aside, they still need to sign another top-of-the-rotation starter, and Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka looks to be their prime target.
4. Put together a solid bench. The Yankees bench was pretty weak mainly because so many of the starters were injured that the role players became everyday players. Brendan Ryan was a nice addition for his defense, and the Yankees should re-sign him, but they also need some bats. Bringing back Mark Reynolds in a pure bench role is not a bad option. Also Jhonny Peralta or Nick Punto could add some much needed depth at shortstop and third base, especially if Eduardo Nunez ends up having to play the hot corner while A-Rod serves his suspension.